Earlier this year at the P&Cs Qld Metropolitan East training day we had an absolutely delightful and inspiring talk by Ann Boon from Seven Hills State School in Brisbane. Her story of bringing a garden into the school was featured on Gardening Australia in a segment you can watch here: The Barefoot Farmer.
Ann detailed the journey she had. Some of the points I noted were:
- Any program needs a champion to make it succeed. A parent can do this, but it is much more effective if you have a teacher take it up.
- Engage the community. They had a Perma-blitz (Permaculture backyard blitz) one Saturday, had help from a permaculture design firm, and Stephanie Alexander gardening program.
- Engage the kids in different ways than just the program. They had a scarecrow competition at the fair.
This got me thinking of other things that could be done to engage the kids and involve the community. My Granddad kept bees at his suburban house and this year I finally got a hive myself. You don’t need to be on a big property or in the bush. In fact bees in urban area’s have been thriving. I’m sure there would be local bee keepers happy to put hives on school grounds away from where kids are all the time. Bee’s are only active at the front of the hive and otherwise you don’t really notice an increase of bees around.
Now I understand this may have concerns with kids who are allergic to bee stings so I don’t know if it is something that could be done. But I will be investigating. My kids have loved the experiences of seeing inside the bee hive. Watching the bees work. Extracting the honey. Eating fresh honey and honeycomb. Giving honey to friends and family. And come spring we are gearing up for full production so they can learn some business skills and sell some honey. In a school the kids could sell the honey and raise money for a specific project they are interested in.
To hear more about the plight of the bees and how important they are watch this TEDx talk, Every City Needs Healthy Honey Bees.
Is there any program like this your school runs? What else do you think we could do?